Solar Power

Solar power is the conversion of solar energy into electricity or thermal energy, either by indirectly using concentrated solar power or directly using photovoltaics – the use of solar panels which consist of various cells made of photovoltaic material.

8,675 Questions
Solar Power

What are the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy?

  • Solar power gives you a return on your investment, while paying your utility for electricity gives you 0% return.
  • Solar energy is renewable unlike the conventional resources (coal, oil) which will inevitably run out.
  • Non-polluting, no carbon dioxide like fossil fuels
  • Free except for capital expenses.
  • Longevity - solar panels can last over forty years and are often warranteed for 25.
  • Low maintenance - solar panels require very little upkeep
  • Independence - an off-grid system allows you to break free from the electrical grid
  • Environmentally friendly because the conversion of energy doesn't produce any carbon dioxide.
  • It comes from the sun, which, unless you are in The South or North pole, comes out almost everyday
  • Solar power is better for the environment, compared to burning fossil fuels and other electrical power.
  • sun is renewable
  • You get clean energy without harming the environment [in term of carbon emissions] ,
  • in certain countries, excessive power generated can be sold back to local electricity provider
  • reduces pollution
  • helps create jobs - shores up economy - to build -> you hire - innovate-maintain - basically economic activities
  • reduced dependence on fossil fuels
  • Once installed, the power is free
  • It is environmentally friendly and no pollution is associated with solar power
  • You can sell your excess power back to the power companies
  • It can be installed anywhere
  • You can use batteries to store power for use at night
  • Energy from the sun is renewable, that is, it keeps on coming
  • It is free
  • It does no damage to the earth or its atmosphere
  • It produces no carbon dioxide
  • It doesn't have to be dug up from the ground like coal, oil, natural gas, or uranium
  • It doesn't have to be cut down, like wood from forests.
  • It produces clean, green power in the form of electricity and can be used to power just about everything we need.
  • There is more solar energy landing on the earth every day than it would take to supply the world for a year.
  • Solar energy can heat swimming pools, power calculators, and power cars.
  • You can even cook food with solar energy.
  • We are using a renewable energy source like the sun, instead of non-renewable energy sources such as Gas, oil, fossil fuels etc...
  • We can save power of electricity.
  • We can prepare food with more taste.
  • We need not bother about electricity board.
  • solar power panels are small enough to fit on every rooftop in a city
  • Solar cells last a long time, typically guaranteed for 20 or 25 years.
  • Takes up a lot of space,
  • Only works when Sun is shining.
  • It doesn't produce much electricity for one single panel.
  • If you were to build it on the ground, the cost will be higher [for massive area of land]
  • Only areas of the world with lots of sunlight and very low heat are suitable for solar power generation
  • You need a lot of money to the installation of the solar energy.
  • Least power energy at night time is another disadvantage of solar energy.
  • When there is no solar energy to be collected you'll have to have adequate battery backup to get you through the nights and rainy days.
  • If people invest money in them they can have a tendency to use energy more freely rather than continuing to try and be economical with resources as they feel they have "done their bit"
  • High Initial Outlay => Either Vc or Government support/subsidy government support => impact on budget => ratification through the Congress/senate/parliament etc ->
  • some people complain of eyesores -> * fine beautiful, great - but not in my backyard -" - well so said the folks in Maine..
  • It takes a considerable amount of solar panels depending on your location to produce the same amount of electricity
  • Solar cells are not efficient yet
  • Solar energy is not available 24 hours a day. It can only be harnessed well when it is the strongest, that is, excluding morning, evening and night.
  • Current devices which utilize solar energy are expensive.
  • There is no guarantee of sunlight in stormy climate or during rain.
  • The initial cost is the main disadvantage of installing a solar energy system, largely because of the high cost of the semi-conducting materials used in building one.
  • The cost of solar energy is also high compared to non-renewable utility-supplied electricity. As energy shortages are becoming more common, solar energy is becoming more price-competitive.
  • Solar panels require quite a large area for installation to achieve a good level of efficiency.
  • The efficiency of the system also relies on the location of the sun
  • The production of solar energy is influenced by the presence of clouds or pollution in the air.
  • Similarly, no solar energy will be produced during nighttime although a battery backup system and/or net metering will solve this problem.
  • As far as solar powered cars go - their slower speed might not appeal to everyone caught up in today's rat race.
  • The major disadvantage with solar power is the's quite expensive and can only be used where there is very little obstruction to sunlight striking the modules...
  • If there is no sun, there will be no solar power because solar power is from the sun.
  • Solar photovoltaic panels are not being mass-produced quickly enough to make them cheap
  • solar power doesn't work so well on cloudy days, so they aren't suitable for every country
  • solar power doesn't work at night, so scientists are working on ways to store extra daytime energy (a recent idea is to split ammonia into hydrogen and nitrogen, and then using the hydrogen as a fuel at night)
  • solar power stations are best placed in hot deserts which are sometimes far away from the main electricity grid. Heat degrades the system faster and they perform poorly over 85 degrees.
  • Only useful during the day (unless you have a solar battery that will "charge" during the day, these add pollution to the environment)
  • Procurement and Installation is expensive, but this can be helped by Federal grants that are now available
  • It takes a considerable amount of solar panels depending on your location to produce the same amount of electricity
  • Solar cells are not completely efficient yet
  • only available for limited portion of the day (Wisconsin for example gets an average of two hours of full sunlight each day)
  • limited by environmental factors (like latitude and weather)
  • not particularly efficient (current technology can only extract a small portion of the energy available in sunlight).
  • Solar panels do not work well in warm temperatures
  • Payback is often measured in multiple decades while life span in often less then 25 years.
  • Solar panels degrade with time.
  • Solar Panels can not produce their full rated power. A 100 watt panel can not provide more then 80 watts in full sunlight and cold weather.
  • A single hail storm once every twenty years destroys the return on investment.
  • Many areas have no possible return on investment or the return is over the lifespan of the panel.
  • Cost

There are many advantages and disadvantages to solar energy. See the related link below.
good source of renewable energy

Advantages of solar power * solar power is free (once the initial setup is complete) * solar power is clean and green (no emissions, no carbon dioxide) * solar power is renewable (we can use as much as we can today, and there's still plenty coming again tomorrow) * solar power panels are small enough to fit on every rooftop in a city and so do away with the need for more power stations

Disadvantages of solar power

* solar power is expensive to set up. Solar photovoltaic panels are not being mass-produced quickly enough to make them cheap * solar power doesn't work so well on cloudy days, so they aren't suitable for every country * solar power doesn't work at night, so scientists are working on ways to store extra daytime energy (a recent idea is to split ammonia into hydrogen and nitrogen, and then using the hydrogen as a fuel at night) * solar power stations are best placed in hot deserts which are sometimes far away from the main electricity grid
There are many benefits of solar energy, but it is still an expensive technology to install with limited power:

  • Once installed, it is a cheap (free) source of energy.
  • A few amps over an extended period of time add up. Running a small gas generator might put out 8 amps of power as long as you feed it gasoline. A solar panel will do that every day.... forever... with no gasoline
  • No greenhouse gas production
  • Can be used to augment existing electric, or hot water systems
  • In Vogue
  • After the initial installation, the price won't ever go up
  • No electric bills
  • There are significant transmission losses with grid power. Local production of solar power can eliminate these losses.
  • Fewer power failures than with Utility Power

Unfortunately not everything is "peachy" with solar electricity, leading to slow implementation.
  • The technology is expensive to implement.
  • Vital system components are often hard to find, for example Home Depot doesn't carry a good selection of 12V fuses, breakers, or even 12V Compact Fluorescent Light Bubs.
  • Because of the startup expense, most people encourage extreme conservation. Which means that a solar house might not have the same conveniences that other houses may have
  • Seasonal variations in solar energy. Especially solar heat is least available during the winter when it is most wanted
  • Less solar energy on cloudy or rainy days
  • The size of a solar electric system required just to offset basic connect fees on a "grid attached" system may be huge. But, if one is not attached to the grid, excess power is wasted.
  • Requires storage system for usage at night
  • Requires inverter if one wants to use the standard 110/220V used by most power systems in the world.
  • The system does "wear". Batteries wear out, panels loose power, panels can fail, inverters can fail. etc.
  • It may take 30 years to pay off, at which time it is worn out and/or obsolete.
  • Not necessarily "plug and play"... may require some tinkering, not just flicking a switch

Yet, despite the shortcomings of solar power, it is a huge step forward. Remember, commercial operations may plan repaying their electric grid investments over 30+ years.... so a few years to repay a solar system is not unexpected. And even dams or nuclear power plants require maintenance.

The use of solar energy has many advantages and disadvantages. Advantages for using solar energy include have a personal energy source, a lower electric bill, and renewability. Despite these benefits, solar energy is not availble during times of inclement weather such as storms, because there is no sunlight. A further disadvantage is that many solar panels contain harmful chemicals. In the event of a catastrophe, a broken energy panel may release toxins with harmful health effects.

Solar Power

What are the limitations of solar cells?

Mainly that they need sunshine to work.

Even reduced sunshine severely limits the amount of useful energy that comes from cells. Clouds may reduce output to a slight trickle as the UV radiation needed is reflected by clouds.

Solar panels can also become damaged with large hail, flying debris or other objects striking the panel.

Heat is another factor. Temperatures over 85 degrees show severe degradation of the output of a panel.

Probably the worst limiting factor with solar panels though is the projected life span of the units. My homes system, operating as it stands for the past four years, should reach ROI (Return on investment) in about 25 years.

This is also the projected lifespan of the panels. A panel is considered to be within operating parameters when the panels operates at 75% of the normal output.

Planetary Science
Solar Power

Why does the sun never run out of heat energy?

"Never" is a big word... The Sun has shone for a long time, and it will continue shining for a long time, but it will eventually run out of fuel.

Mobile Phones
Environmental Issues
Solar Power

Is there such thing as a solar powered phone?

I have seen cell phone batteries with solar cells in them, but not in a while. So solar powered phones exist. There is also a pocket-sized product called Solio which opens up into a fan of solar panels and contains a backup battery and power charging cords for cellphones. You just have to remember to leave it in the sun while talking on the phone, since there probably isn't much sunlight in your pocket. (It also comes with a plug-in charging cord, but if you're on the grid, what's the point?)

Solar Power

Who is the father of solar energy?

'Clarence Kemp' is known as the father of solar energy in the Unites States. He developed the first commercial solar water heater in 1891.

Solar Power

The ocean zone that receives the most solar energy?

Near coasts, intertidal and estuary zones are the interfaces between land and water--ecotones receive much solar energy/light.

Solar Power

Can a solar panel detect a laser pointer?


I saw a demonstration where a professor used a custom-built system consisting of: a speaker with a solar panel wired into the input line, and a laser pointer wired into the output line of an iPod.

When the iPod played, it caused the laser pointer to activate, sending the beam (and energy) to the solar panel, which powered the speakers.

He sent some music across the room with it. It was a great little project.

Electronics Engineering
Solar Power

Do solar garden lights cause radio interference?

In general, solar powered garden lights won't interfere with radio signals. Solar powered garden lights incorporate a solar cell (or cells) to drive the lights in the fixtures. This is all an issue of direct current and its application. DC (direct current) doesn't generally interfere with radio signals (unless it is switched on and off rapidly, which is not going to be the case with the solar garden lights).

Renewable Energy
Solar Power

What are the advantages and disadvantages of biomass?


  • Good for environment as the carbon dioxide it releases is only months old so is part of the normal carbon cycle.
  • Biomass doesn't emit additional carbon dioxide (CO2), like fossil fuels. It releases the CO2 that it took in during its short lifetime. Using biomass instead of fossil fuels prevents further addition of CO2 in our atmosphere.
  • Biomass can be used to make a variety of fuels to generate electricity
  • Biomass is used for the production of chemical products
  • Biomass waste can help in reducing disposal costs
  • Biomass waste can extend the life of landfills
  • biomass is renewable.
  • it can make our life easier
  • Can use waste products and therefore can have negative fuel costs
  • Can create several products - electricity/heat/biogas/biofuel
  • Very large resource
  • Lots of different technology
  • released in several ways


  • Biocrops have a higher value than food and can detract food production, leading to food shortages and increased prices
  • Heat and some pollutants are released into the atmosphere, adding to global warming
Environmental Issues
Solar Power

How do solar panels generate electricity?

Solar Panels and Electricity

There are more than one type of solar panel, but nearly all work by the same fundamental physics, and the very large majority of commercially available panels are made from silicon (Si). I will discuss this type here.

  • When silicon absorbs sunlight of a certain wavelength (shorter than ~1100 nm), an electron is excited into a state which is delocalized. In other words, this electron is now free to move around the entire panel with very little barrier. However, in a piece of plain old Si, there is no reason for it to go one direction rather than another (and electricity is the net movement of electrons in a single direction). In fact, the electron will move around in the Si randomly, and then eventually this electron will simply return to the ground, or unexcited, state and release heat (just like any black object does in the hot sun).
  • However, in the solar panel, there is something called a junction, where two slightly different materials meet. The two materials are actually both made of Si, but each one is doped (has a tiny percentage of other atoms mixed in) with a different element. The type of doping (the two types are called n- and p-type) of the Si determines its electrical properties. When an electron reaches this junction, it is either accelerated across it, or repelled by it, depending on which direction it is coming from (imagine water and a hill... water accelerates down the hill, but can't go up it).
  • Now there is directionality to the system. You attach a wire to each side of this junction, and when sunlight is absorbed, the free electrons now only flow in one direction, from one side of the junction to the other, driving a current through the external circuit.

Electricity is just that -- electrons having a net flow in a single direction along a wire.

Solar Power

How does sunlight differ from indoor fluorescent light?

Indoor fluorescent light is not as bright as sunlight, and it is usually not exactly the same color (although there are different types of fluorescent tubes that produce different colors, some of which are extremely close to sunlight).

Solar Power

How can solar energy be useful directly by animals?

it's useful for snakes because they need alot of heat so insted of using electric we could use solar power.

Pool Care and Cleaning
Pool Heating
Solar Power

How do you put on a solar cover?

Lay your solar cover, bubble side down on top of the pool

Just want to add, we bought a solar cover for our above ground Intex pool. The cover completely covers the pool and keeps the pool water very warm (which is the purpose). However, you need to double your chlorine to keep from getting algae. It's almost like having a spa. When I lift the solar cover, there is condensation on the cover and steam coming out. So you need to really watch your chlorine levels.


You may also want to try using a liquid solar cover. They are really easy and relatively of all, you don't have to put them on and pull them off all the time. Check out

Meteorology and Weather
Units of Measure
Solar Power

Why measure diffuse solar radiation?

diffuse is what will be received by flat solar panels

beam is what is received by concentrating solar collector

dishes, lenses, fields of mirrors

PSP partial Spherical pyrometer ...diffuse

NIP normal incidence Pyrometer ...beam

Solar Power

Why are solar panel pipes dull black?

Painted black pipes sandwiched between two layers of glass, have water inside them that is heated thanks to the rays of the sun. Since the color "black" absorbs most sunlight, it's easy to see how black pipes absorb the sunlight and heats the water.

Environmental Issues
Renewable Energy
Solar Power

How is solar energy easily renewed?

It does not need to be renewed, it is constantly available as long as the sun is shining. And that will last several more billion years.
Solar power is energy collected from the sun. While not 100% renewable, as long s we have sun and a planet to live on, we will have this virtually unlimited power source.

Solar Power

Is there a Bible verse talking about solar power?

no. The bIble says nothing about it

Solar Power

Why are solar cell panels used in artificial satellites?

There is an abundance of solar power in space, and a shortage of any other power. Satellites need power, and it would be difficult to get power to them any other way. Batteries would eventually run out, so a way of producing power needs to be included with the satellite.

Solar cells are used for electric for the space hubs and satellite to keep it working.

Solar Power

Why do poles receive less solar energy then the equator does?

The poles receive less solar energy then the equator does because the radiation from the sun has to pass through much more atmosphere to reach the poles than to reach the equator. During that transit, more of the energy is scattered on the path to the poles, and less reaches the ground there.

Solar Power

What happens When a photon strikes a solar cell?

When a photon strikes a solar cell it bounces off.

In Physics, a photon is an elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction and the basic unit of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation.

History of Science
Solar Power

How do rotation and tilt affect the amount of solar energy that different parts of earth receive?

Rotation and tilt affect the amount of solar energy the earth receives because when the earth is tilted and or rotating, one specific part of the earth is more directed towards the sun then all the others.

Solar Power

Why should the use of solar power should be made mandatory in tropical regions?

Solar energy uses a very clean and renewable resource to generate electricity: our very own sun! This means that there aren't really any negative environmental and effects, that it doesn't produce any harmful gases.

So to answer why tropical regions should have solar power installed is simply because they are the locations where the heat of the sun has a better chance of reaching the solar panels installed

Solar Power

How photo system harvest light?

Converts solar energy to chemical energy

Solar Power

Where can you find information about solar attic fans?

Go to the State of California website, you might find some there, California is big on energy savings.

You can also go to Home Depot to see if they have them in your area. In the San Diego, CA area they carry solar-powered gable and roof mounted types of fans for about 60 bucks plus another 30ish dollars for the solar panel. They are super easy to put in and you don't have to know anything about electricity to hook the wires together; they use alligator clips to connect the fan and the solar panel together.

If you're looking for a solar attic fan that runs strictly on solar energy and won't add to your monthly utility bills, or runs on batteries, they are available as well. See the link in related links to get a quote. There are rebates available for CA; and if you're a business owner you can get your purchase written off at the end of the tax year.

Solar Power

What does solar energy do for humans?

warms our bodies and save our environment


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